I’ve spoken many times about aligned action and fulfilling purpose. I’ve also spoken about what it feels like to get what you need but I had a moment today with one of my employees that made me realize something: there is a huge difference between getting what we want and what we need. When we get what we want there is always something else that we think will fulfill us, something else that will take off the edge, something else we think will make us happy or fill some void. But the feeling we get when we get what we need is totally unlike that. There is an excitement in getting what we want—it’s a thrill and there is a chase with it. There is a calmness when we get what we need.
As I’ve shared, I recently took a week off of work and I treated that time off very differently than I have treated any other time off. My days were still absolutely packed and we were busy but it wasn’t the kind of busy that merely keeps you distracted. It was the kind of busy where you are making progress on things you need to. In my case, it was about healing and self-care and learning to experience joy again. It was about realizing what was good for me. When I met with my employee, she made the comment, “It’s so hard to come back to work after a week off.” I knew exactly what she meant and she is right—after not living on a schedule for nine days it’s hard to get back to your routine and there are ALWAYS things you want to be doing. But I honestly felt something different this time. No, I wasn’t jumping for joy to go back, but I didn’t have that dread, that weight in my stomach.
I told my employee, “It wasn’t that bad, I got exactly what I needed.” And that is the truth. The time off was some of the most cathartic time I’ve had in years. No, it wasn’t perfect, yes my mind still ran, but I was able to get in touch with the parts of me I felt were missing. Parts I only heard whispers from. I feel like if I had taken another week off in the same vein, continuing on that pattern, I would have probably gotten to the root of everything. I’m not lamenting, it was just THAT helpful for me. I didn’t honestly have a plan for the time off other than to do things that made me happy and to try new things to connect with myself. When you see yourself on that level it feels different. It feels authentic. Suddenly you see people differently as well.
My time off also led me to see things that I want for myself and things I don’t. I got to try on things I fantasized about previously, things I thought might fit me or things I wanted to pursue. It felt good. It was a different kind of excitement—it was more like puzzle pieces falling together and getting clarity as opposed to skydiving. All the things I’ve looked for suddenly seemed to look a bit clearer. I was able to redirect my sail and it felt good. Of course I could have used more—we all could—especially when you are so close to a breakthrough. But sometimes what we get is enough. I know for me, pointing in the right direction felt more complete than checking off a bunch of things for work. There is a completeness when we get what we need instead of what we want—and that is the way to go.